In a surprising move, the Saints released rookie Khairi Fortt from injured reserve/designated to return Monday afternoon.
The fourth-round pick suffered a hamstring injury in New Orleans’ second preseason game and would have been eligible to return to action for a Week 8 game against the Green Bay Packers.
Fortt said earlier this year that he was frustrated with his current situation.
But he said he was optimistic he would make a full recovery.
“I’ve been working my whole life to get to this point where I could finally play my first official game in the NFL,” Fortt said before the season.
“I’ve been battling this hamstring issue which will probably be good in the next week or two, but I know they’re just taking a precaution.”
Each team receives one short-term injured reserve spot that allows an injured player to return later in the year.
Those players are eligible to begin practicing after six weeks and can play in games after being sidelined for eight weeks.
Other Saints players battling injuries include running back Mark Ingram, who had surgery on his hand Sept. 17, and fullback Erik Lorig, who is yet to play this season because of an ankle injury.
It is not known when either player will be ready to return.
Coach Sean Payton refused to comment about Fortt’s situation Monday.
Fortt becomes the second fourth-round pick to be released this season, joining Jalen Saunders, released by the Jets last week.
Fortt accumulated one tackle in the preseason before injuring his hamstring.
The Saints included him on their initial 53-man roster but placed him on short-term injured reserve to open a roster spot for wide receiver Robert Meachem, who was released and re-signed by the team before the start of the season.
After making the move, Payton said the team was still unsure of what it had in Fortt.
Now the Saints may have to find out what the California product is made of by potentially watching him play for another team.